Hello ARTFUL supporters!
Sorry it’s been so long since we posted a progress update, but I assure you that we have been busy behind the scenes. We have been exploring a number of options in regard to buildings, developing a series of classes, organizing our fundraising plan, among other things!
Let’s start with where we are in our search for a building to house ARTFUL. We have toured a few sites, all of which have their own pros and cons. We know that each site brings its own characteristics to our project and we will have to adapt accordingly. But each of them also fits our main objectives – a welcoming space that will allow us to rent affordable studio spaces to local artists, space in which we can host classes and events for the community at large, and all located in spaces/areas where we can take advantage of the support of area non-profits and businesses, as well as lend our support to them. We encourage you to provide us with your thoughts and feedback regarding any of these spaces.
We continue to have open discussions with the owners of the Medusa building. Earlier last month Shannon, Dave and our architect, John Williams, sat down with the owners to discuss the potential of a lease. We all have the love affair going on with this spot, but it is in dire need of some pretty major repairs and for it to work we will need to come to a lease agreement that makes sense in terms of length and cost. We are currently running some numbers back and forth and look forward to further exploring the possibility of this site. But we also feel we need to explore other options available within our community.
We recently found out that Grace Lutheran has sold to a commercial venture. From what we hear, this is great news but I do not know the details. So we have had to scratch that from our list of potential sites. But we are very enthusiastic about a space we toured at the old Coventry Elementary School.
Coventry School Building
This space has several advantages – affordability being a huge plus. Utilities, maintenance, internet, and taxes are included in our rent price which, so far, is unique to this space. John Williams accompanied us on our third walk-through and encouraged us to explore this possibility further. We feel the space is large enough for us to meet our objectives and could be a perfect space for us to start out in and grow over the next several years. While there is nothing set in stone, we are also aware of the CHUH school districts potential plans over the next number of years regarding their school buildings, and see that there is at least some potential for us to grow into a larger space over time. The space already includes several sinks and built in storage units (almost like dressers with wide flat drawers – perfect for art supplies), and wonderfully high ceilings. We are moving forward with discussions regarding rent/lease details and will keep you posted.
The Old Rite Aid Building
The other space that we toured was the old Rite Aid building by Zagara’s on Lee Rd. This was also a great space – very raw and utilitarian, larger than the Coventry School space, but smaller than Medusa. We truly feel that we could adapt this building to fit our needs, as well. We like the location and the ample parking – both big plusses. The con to this one is the price. No utilities, taxes or maintenance are included in the lease price. But we are keeping this on our list of potential sites.
Another site that we have been encouraged to take a look at is the Center-Mayfield building (the old movie theater). We have yet to tour this site and we are aware that is currently under contract for sale. But we hope to still be able to get in to see it.
If anyone has any other leads on spaces in our area that may be worth exploring, please let us know. Another one we’d love to find out more about is 2150 Lee Rd. (the old Abrash store). If anyone knows if this space is available, please let us know. We are also wondering if the old Lemon Grass building is moving forward as a new restaurant, or what the status is with that space? We are going to have our Realtor, Judy Jeavons, look into these spaces further, but if anyone has any direct knowledge, please feel free to let us know.
OK – on to other business…
Classes!! Several members of our team are working on developing some great classes for you to take advantage of. As we move forward with this, we will provide you with more details, but the idea is to create art classes which will be hosted at local businesses and venues. Each class will later be featured in beautiful instruction book we will create and use to help raise funds for ARTFUL. We will also be featuring some videos on our website.
We are also very excited about a couple new projects we will be featuring on our blog. The first is a series we are calling “meaningFUL People”. This will be a video spotlight where the youth in our community interview their art teachers, or someone who influences their creativity. We want the world to know that our arts are important to the overall education and development of our youth, and hope that these videos will inspire and entertain you. If you have a child who would be interested in conducting an interview, or know of an art educator who deserves to be features, please let us know.
The other feature we are starting is appropriately named “ARTworks”. This is a photo feature of someone who has chosen to create art as a regular part of their lives at work in their “studio”. We hope this will help introduce our community to the wealth of talented people we are surrounded by. Again, if you are an artist/creator, or know of a deserving person who wouldn’t mind being featured in “ARTworks”, then please email us.
And lastly… March marks our 1 year anniversary since we formally organized ARTFUL, so it’s time to celebrate! We’re looking into hosting a 1 Year Anniversary Happy Hour at Colony in a couple of weeks. We’d like this to be an opportunity for you to come out and celebrate with us, but to also take some time to answer any questions you may have about or venture, or for you to share your thoughts and ideas. So we will be posting details about this as we work them out over the next few days.
As always, thanks for your continued encouragement and support!